Cognitive functioning in healthy older adults aged 64-81: a cohort study into the effects of age, sex, and education.

S.A.H. van Hooren, A.M. Valentijn, H. Bosma, R.W.H.M. Ponds, M.P.J. van Boxtel, J. Jolles

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Abstract

The objective of this study was to determine a possible differential effect of age, education, and sex on cognitive speed, verbal memory, executive functioning, and verbal fluency in healthy older adults. A group of 578 healthy participants in the age range of 64-81 was recruited from a large population study of healthy adults (Maastricht Aging Study). Even in healthy individuals in this restricted age range, there is a clear, age-related decrease in performance on executive functioning, verbal fluency, verbal memory, and cognitive speed tasks. The capacity to inhibit information is affected most. Education had a substantial effect on cognitive functioning: participants with a middle or high level of education performed better on cognitive tests than did participants with a low level of education. Women performed better than men on verbal memory tasks. Therefore, education and sex must be taken into account when examining an older individual's cognitive performance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-54
JournalAging Neuropsychology and Cognition
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007

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